Welding titanium is not as hard as many welders think it is. But there are some small differences where experience and skill come into play. The process of welding titanium is similar to the process of welding other types of metals. The majority of the time spent welding titanium is basically on preparing the titanium for the welding process.
When you get down to it, the process of welding titanium differs only a little than welding any other ferrous metal such as steel or stainless steel. Keeping the key elements under control, welding titanium can be done by almost any experienced welder.
The majority of the welding process takes place before and after the weld is done. The most important step is eliminating any impurities on the surface of the metal. Having clean and debris-free titanium is critical to process of welding titanium. The cleaner the titanium is the stronger the integrity of the weld will be. The best way in which to prepare the titanium for welding is to clean it with chemicals designed primarily for titanium. Even oil on your skin may contaminate the surface of the titanium. For that reason the metal, work area and you must be free of debris and as clean as possible.
When you have thoroughly cleansed the titanium of all surface impurities, the next thing to consider is the atmosphere. Some elements in the air can cause problems when working with titanium. There is specialized equipment available, such as trailing cups for smaller jobs. But if you are planning on working on a large amount of titanium it may be necessary to create a controlled chamber.
A chamber is very expensive, but if you are planning on basing the majority of your work on titanium, it may be a necessary expense. A chamber is used because while welding titanium, heat will naturally spread throughout the material, which is also known as a heat affected zone of HAZ for short. Oxygen will react to titanium at a temperature just below its melting point, and therefore should not come into contact while the heat affected zone is above a certain temperature. The entire area of the heat affected zone must constantly be purged with argon until the surface temperature of the titanium will no longer react to the oxygen.
The ability to control these factors may be the difference between successfully welding titanium and creating a piece that is not welded properly and will have a weak weld. Welding titanium is a very expensive process and is usually only performed by welders who have years of experience and have a specialty in the field of titanium welding. Due to the amount of skill and knowledge required to properly weld titanium, it is an aspect of the welding field that is not suited for beginners.
Many welders have practiced and worked in the field for many years before they feel that they are skilled enough to attempt the titanium welding process. It is a very intimidating metal to work with and the skill required takes years to gain. If you are interested in learning the skills necessary to weld titanium, it may be best if you set out to specialize in this field and learn all the skills and techniques required to become proficient in the area of titanium welding.